Former GOP vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul D. Ryan publicly endorsed Rep. Tom E. Price to be the next chairman of the Republican Conference today, writing in a letter to his colleagues that the Georgia lawmaker is a proven leader.
The letter marks the Wisconsin Republican’s first public communication with his colleagues since running and losing the presidential bid on the ticket with GOP contender Mitt Romney against President Barack Obama. Ryan also gave interviews to local press recently.
In the Dear Colleague obtained by Roll Call, Ryan cites his experience putting together a House Republican budget as proof that Price is “uniquely qualified” to become conference chairman. Ryan is the chairman of the House Budget Committee, on which Price sits.
Price is running against Republican Conference Vice Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash. She has touted the endorsements of seven committee chairmen.
Ryan, however, one of the most high-profile figures in the Republican Party, might have the credibility to sway his colleagues into supporting Price. Although he pledged his support to Price this past summer, the duties of running on the presidential ticket trumped congressional politics, and he had not been active in supporting the candidate.
A source with knowledge of McMorris Rodgers’ campaign noted before the letter was sent out that Ryan’s support of Price has the potential to alienate some members of the Republican Steering Committee. Ryan is seeking a waiver to remain past his term limit as Budget Chairman, and members of the steering committee must vote to grant him the waiver.
The full text of Ryan’s letter appears below:
Dear Colleague –
Having crisscrossed the country over the last several months, I have seen firsthand the challenges we as a nation face. I have also seen the incredible spirit of the American people who are hungry for real leadership and ready to do what is necessary to put America back on a more prosperous path.
In the House of Representatives, we have an obligation and a real opportunity to produce and promote a positive and principled agenda for the American people. Over the past two years, we have offered bold solutions to our fiscal and economic challenges. We must not let up, but rather continue to focus our energy on doing what is necessary to empower individuals, families, and entrepreneurs.
Key to ensuring the success of our efforts will be having proven leaders at the helm of our policy and communication strategies. That is why I am asking you to join me in supporting Congressman Tom Price to be our next Chairman of the House Republican Conference.
I have had the privilege of working with Congressman Price on a myriad of different issues over the years, and I know he is uniquely qualified for the job of Conference Chairman. He was instrumental in drafting our House Republican budget. His vocal leadership on issues like health care, tax reform, and fiscal matters has been vital to our messaging and policy efforts.
No one will work harder than Congressman Price at building a strong and compelling communications and policy strategy that reflects the will of our membership and the needs of the nation.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.